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transmittal thru mosquitos
Oct 22, 1996

I was wondering, if a mosquito can carry such diseases as malaria and encephalitis, is there a possibility that they can also carry the AIDS virus? My mother, who is a nurse, and I have discussed this numerous times. Maybe you can answer our question of concern. Thank you.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. In regard to mosquitoes and HIV, mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV for the following reasons:

HIV cannot live outside the human body for more than a few minutes. Mosquitoes don't bite one person then hop onto the next. Instead it's usually days between biting one person and then the next. HIV would be long dead before a mosquito bites another person.

Mosquitoes don't inject blood into a person. Instead, they inject their saliva into you. The saliva prevents blood from clotting. By the way, it's their saliva that causes a mosquito bite to itch. Other diseases can go into the salivary glands of a mosquito. Malaria is a good example, and malaria has evolved to survive inside mosquitoes. Luckily HIV has not evolved to be able to live in the environment found inside a mosquito. HIV cannot get into the salivary glands of mosquitoes, and will not be injected into another persons body. So a mosquito does in fact puncture your skin to get access to your blood, but it does NOT inject another persons blood into you, and will not inject HIV into you.

There's lots of data showing that the patterns of spread of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes (like malaria), is totally different from the pattern of spread of the HIV virus. Malaria and other diseases spread by insects, strike anyone living in a given area who are exposed to those insects. However, HIV only strikes people engaging in specific activities like sexual activities, needle sharing etc.

So all the data proves that HIV cannot be spread by mosquitoes or other insects. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS



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